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A Bird in Hand

April 5, 2010

By Chaitanyananda

Late one Sunday evening, I was leaving my parents home in Johannesburg to take the long drive back to Pretoria where I was studying. It was bucketing down with rain in one of the typical thunderstorms you get there. I left the house and was making my way to the car. The dogs followed me out to the driveway and while I was saying good bye to the one, I suddenly noticed that the other dog was trying to catch something. I looked around and saw that she was after a little bird. I assumed in the crazy storm it was knocked from its nest and was too weak to fly back. Calling the dogs away and putting them inside, I went to the task of helping the little guy.

I spent the next ten minutes getting progressively more wet and irritated trying to catch the bird. Every time I got close enough to grab it, it would leap a metre or two away. Eventually I surrendered and got into my car. Sitting there I thought to myself, “If the bird wanted me to help it, it would have let me catch it.” No sooner had I thought this, the bird landed on my side mirror. I was able to simply roll down the window, reach out and gently take the bird into my hand. I sat there holding this wet little bird in my lap.

I reversed out the driveway and turned on my radio. A song by Dave Mathews was playing and at the lyrics at that exact moment happened to be, “Words, words, have you heard, a bird in hand is much better than, any number free to wonder, fly away, stay….”

We drove up to Pretoria, the sky giving us a spectacular lightning show, and the whole way there I held the bird, feeling connected in some inexplicable way, sending it love and good vibes and also just knowing that the next morning I would release it and it would be free again. It spent the night in a shoebox and the following morning, the sun shining and day clear, I took it from the box, went outside, opened my hand and the bird flew off into the bright blue sky.

The universe is talking to us all the time and we are talking right back to it. Mostly we don’t notice it over our own clatter.  Communication is really about becoming a better listener. If we are more present, it’s much easier to notice that we are connected to and a part of everything. What conversations we could have then! This is what yoga teaches.

Chaitanyananda (Brian Bergman) has been practicing yoga for over eight years. During a trip to Nepal in 2001 he was introduced to Satyananda yoga. After that, all the yoga that he was exposed to was in some way or another related to the Satyananda yoga tradition. He completed a one-year residential Diploma of Yogic Studies at the Bihar Yoga Bharati in 2002-03. Since then he has been teaching Satyananda yoga at the Satyananda Yoga Centre in Sea Point. /

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